eSOL is an independent global leader in embedded systems and edge computing. Its innovative software products are used and supported worldwide in diverse and demanding embedded applications. They are deployed in more than 100 million devices at leading automotive, industrial, medical and consumer electronics manufacturers.

eSOL’s high-performance, scalable software platform products are centered around its unique, patented eMCOS® ‘multikernel’ real-time operating system (RTOS) technology.

With around 500 employees worldwide (in Japan and France), eSOL continues to invest heavily in research & development. The company is also actively engaged in standardization activities for AUTOSAR, Autoware and multi/many-core technology, to better leverage the value of its software products and engineering services.

Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Tokyo, eSOL is listed on the Standard Market of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE: 4420).

Interview with Laurent Mares, VP Sales, International at eSOL Europe.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Laurent Mares: eSOL develops high-performance, scalable software platform products and provides engineering and professional services for the embedded systems and edge computing fields.

eSOL’s flagship product is eMCOS POSIX high-performance, scalable and certifiable real-time operating system (RTOS), offering heterogeneous multi/manycore support and increased portability with its extensive POSIX API.

The eMCOS innovative product family also includes eMCOS Hypervisor®, which delivers safe, secure virtualization alongside outstanding real-time performance and highly flexible mixed-criticality software partitioning across multiple applications.

Besides eSOL’s RTOS and hypervisor product families, eSOL offers a comprehensive range of customized engineering and professional services, in particular for Autoware/ROS/ROS2. Autoware is the only open standard framework available for AD/ADAS, and ROS2 is the most common open-source software for robotics.

These services can be additionally based on eMCOS to deliver safe, real-time performance on multi/manycore hardware.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

L.M: eMCOS SDK one-stop, all-in-one software development kit has been introduced this year. It provides developers of critical embedded systems with a convenient bundle integrating all necessary development software and support components. It includes a comprehensive C/C++ tool suite as well as the eMCOS POSIX multikernel scalable RTOS platform, middleware for robust and reliable transactional filesystem and secure TCP/IP networking, sample BSPs for Arm platforms, the eMCOS Hypervisor add-on for real-time virtualization and other options. eMCOS SDK also bundles one-stop standard product support and maintenance services for the use of the whole software package.

Last but not least, eMCOS POSIX next-generation RTOS is planned in 2024 to be certified ISO 26262 ASIL-D, the highest pre-certified variant available for automotive functional safety certification.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

L.M: eSOL’s main product ranges include the following software:

  • Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) for safety-critical applications: eMCOS POSIX (next-gen, flagship platform product) and eT-Kernel
  • Real-Time Hypervisors: eMCOS Hypervisor
  • Integrated Development Environment: eDEVS® and eBinder
  • Middleware for filesystems, network stacks etc.
  • AUTOSAR Classic & Adaptive solutions for the Automotive market
  • ROS & Autoware solutions (for the Industrial and Automotive markets).

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

L.M: Our two main current markets are the Automotive and Industrial markets. Both markets are currently growing and demanding our types of technologies and products.

About the Automotive market: 

Disruptive trends in the automotive market such as connectivity, autonomous driving, mobility services, and electric vehicles place great demands on high-performance computing and virtualization. 

As centralization and aggregation increase for functions that were traditionally handled by individual ECUs, multi/many-core CPUs are being adopted in next-gen SDVs (Software Driven Vehicles) as a means of achieving a well-balanced mix of low power consumption, high-performance computing and energy efficiency. 

The issue is these are not best served by conventional operating systems and designers must appreciate the importance of selecting the correct OS. They should consider a ‘multikernel’ (aka distributed microkernel) RTOS if they want to increase the advantages of using multi/many-core processing in the vehicles of tomorrow.

With eSOL’s extensive expertise in developing safety-critical embedded systems for the automotive sector, we provide an extensive range of technologies and products such as our eMCOS ‘multikernel’ RTOS, real-time hypervisor, development tools, middleware, Autosar Classic and Adaptive platforms, ROS/Autoware framework solutions, and engineering services to help our Tier-1 and OEM customers develop next-generation, software-defined vehicles (SDVs).

About the Industrial market: 

The fourth industrial revolution is happening now, with connected assets and Big Data. As well as traditional in-house systems, open standards such as ROS 2 and Autoware, and network protocols such as DDS and OPC-UA, are enabling the development of next-generation IIoT applications.

With its extensive expertise in mission-critical embedded systems development, eSOL has a unique understanding of market needs and challenges. Harnessing our knowledge and technical experience of advanced development of industrial robots, automated vehicles and other products, we seamlessly integrate our customers’ in-house systems with open standard services to develop innovative high-level edge computing platforms combining the latest technologies and critical safety and security features.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

L.M: The Automotive market is rapidly evolving towards the “SDV” (Software Defined Vehicle) model. Many governments around the world accept that climate change is a major issue and they have looked to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV) as one way of reducing environmental pollution. As the world moves towards greater adoption of the electric vehicle, design engineers are having to shift their focus from factors that have traditionally governed the design of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. It is clear that significant changes to hardware and software are required. 

This presents a challenge when designing the electrical infrastructure of vehicles because – in the absence of a powertrain based around an ICE – new ways must be developed to power alternators, operate heating systems within the vehicle, manage infotainment and more. 

The shift in vehicle propulsion from combustion engines to electric motors, combined with the requirements of autonomous driving, has also resulted in an overdue upgrade of the entire E/E architecture and the appearance of software defined architectures (SDAs).

Disruptive trends in the automotive market, such as connectivity, autonomous and automated driving (AD), mobility as a service, and drivetrain electrification, impose demands for high-performance computing that must also be extremely energy-efficient and power-conscious. This high-performance computing must coexist with the large numbers of smaller processors that handle traditional body, chassis, powertrain, and other vehicle electrical systems. There can be 30 to 100—or more—of these ECUs, depending on the model and market positioning.

Change is coming to vehicle electrical/electronic infrastructures as more advanced features are introduced. Distributed ECUs are coalescing into larger domain controllers to offset the rapidly rising cost, weight, and complexity of the vehicle’s wiring. Increasingly centralized electrical/electronic (or E/E) architectures are aggregating and integrating ECUs and high-performance computing across multiple domains. In turn, it’s driving a move to heterogeneous, multi/many-core processors as the most high-performing, energy-efficient, and lowest-power solution to handle the diverse workloads. Where automotive OEMs have the investment capabilities of creating their centralized architecture, the creation of a chiplet-based dedicated advanced computing SoC is becoming more and more a viable approach.

On the other hand, connectivity and automated driving in particular raise demands for new safety standards as well as increased cybersecurity, preventing malicious agents from hacking autonomous vehicles is an issue of national security. Established safety standards like ISO 26262 arguably may not be enough for emerging use cases like autonomous driving. Newer standards such as SOTIF (Safety Of The Intended Functionality) and UL4600 are being developed to suit these applications.

To make things even more challenging, establishing the public acceptance of what is “safe autonomous driving” requires discussion of the ODD (operational design domain) and OEDR (object event detection and response) of ADS (autonomous driving system). However, this is difficult as they are OEM-specific and tightly-coupled to the future vehicle specification that OEMs need to keep confidential. To meet these intensified safety challenges, OEMs and Tier 1s need hardware and software architectures that can be the foundation to successfully overcome these hurdles.

At the same time, the emerging architectures must also be highly scalable to enable OEMs to create differentiated product ranges cost-effectively and deliver new models within tough time-to-market targets. Scalability is needed to let manufacturers accommodate performance variations between different vehicle specifications, utilize different hardware platforms of varying cost and complexity throughout their product ranges, implement different applications and features on different models, and manage a variety of system configurations as needed. Not to mention the possibility of deploying and enabling new functionality after physical delivery, over-the-air.

Scalability is also essential so that rapidly evolving heterogeneous many-core processors can be infused into embedded high-performance compute engines. Moreover, it allows OEMs to adopt the latest E/E architectures while new models are being developed.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

L.M: The software platform is a critical element in solving the new automotive and industrial computing challenges. Scalability is imperative and software based on a SOA is the proven approach. A ‘multikernel’ RTOS technology is best-suited to managing emerging hardware architectures while at the same time supporting SOA with inter-kernel message passing technology.

With its ‘multikernel’ design, eMCOS high-performance, scalable, safety-certified real-time operating system and hypervisor platform is the most innovative embedded software platform available today.

eSOL’s eMCOS embedded software platform brings together RTOS, hypervisor, development tools and middleware with safety certification to help manufacturers simplify and optimize the development of next-generation software-defined embedded applications:

  • Outstanding parallel computing performance on multi/manycore CPUs with ‘multikernel’ RTOS
  • Hard real-time performance and determinism
  • Scalability for single and heterogeneous multi/manycore CPUs up to 1024 cores
  • POSIX compliance for software reuse
  • Real-time hypervisor for safe virtualization of mixed-critical applications
  • Rich and modern C/C++ IDE (Eclipse, Visual Studio Code, CMake) on Windows and Ubuntu
  • Functional safety and security support
  • ISO26262 ASIL-D pre-certified (functional safety standard for automotive)
  • Freedom from interference (FFI) by design
  • Reliable middleware support (including transactional filesystem and network)
  • Industry software frameworks support (AUTOSAR, Autoware, ROS/ROS2, DDS, SYCL, etc.)
  • Standard Virtio support for easy code reuse of virtualized I/Os
  • Extensive CPU and customized BSP support.